Mew is similar to a vertebrate embryo. It shares many traits with cats. Its morphology is also vaguely similar to a jerboa, having large hind legs and a long skinny tail. It is believed by scientists to be the ancestor of all other Pokémon, which, along with its resemblance to an embryo, may be a reference to the recapitulation theory.
Mew may be derived from 妙 myō (strange/unusual), mew (the sound a kitten makes, referring to its size and cat-like appearance), or mutant (myūtanto), or it may be a combination of mystery and new (considering that it is mysterious and “newly” discovered).